Penn State has a reputation as Linebacker U for its assembly line production of NFL-ready linebackers like Lavar Arrington, Navorro Bowman, and others. And for as long as I can remember, if Boise State was football-position-U for anything it would have been defensive backs. But are times a-changing?
Take yesterday's NFL Combine for instance. The Broncos had three defensive linemen participating in drills - Billy Winn, Tyrone Crawford, and Shea McClellin - and depending on whom you ask, all three could be among the Top 75 prospects in the Draft and be off the board before Day Two comes to a close. Then look at the future: Mike Atkinson, Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe, and others are next down the pipe.
Has Boise State's signature NFL export changed?
You may as well add offensive linemen to the discussion, too. Daryn Colledge and Ryan Clady are already NFL stalwarts, and Nate Potter could very well join them.
Wide receivers? Austin Pettis and Titus Young did their best to start that trend, and I have a feeling like Matt Miller might follow suit in three (hopefully not two) years.
Tight end hasn't treated the Broncos too shabbily, either, with guys like Derek Schouman and Jeb Putzier.
All things considered, for me the real debate comes down to whether the Broncos are a DB factory or a DL factory. And George Iloka is my swing vote. In a year when Boise State graduated its best defensive line in ever, the Broncos just also happened to turn out the top free safety in all of college football. And next year, Jamar Taylor and Jerrell Gavins will be NFL Combine stars. Then watch out for Lee Hightower and Co. after that.
I believe Boise State is still Defensive Back U. For now. We'll see how new position coaches Jimmy Lake (DBs) and Andy Avalos (DL) take things from here.
What do you think Boise State is best known for in NFL circles? How do you see things going in the future? Share your thoughts in the comments.